The intersection of cannabis and veterinary care is gaining traction, with instances of CBD and THC treatments emerging as potential game-changers for animals. While medical marijuana has become a staple for human health in many places, its application in treating pets and zoo animals is just starting to scratch the surface.

In the heart of a wildlife park in Mexico, a 55-year-old Asian elephant named Nidia was grappling with chronic foot problems. Fissures, cracked toenails, and painful abscesses had taken a toll on her well-being. Desperate for a solution, Dr. Quetzalli Hernández, the dedicated veterinarian overseeing Nidia’s care, turned to an unconventional remedy: cannabidiol, or CBD.

Furthermore, collaborating with Dr. Mish Castillo, the chief veterinary officer at ICAN Vets, a company specializing in veterinary cannabis education and research in Mexico, the team embarked upon a journey into uncharted territory. Administering a carefully calibrated dose of 0.02 milligrams of CBD per pound of Nidia’s weight, they observed a remarkable transformation. Nidia, like many who benefit from CBD, developed a hearty appetite, gaining 555 pounds within five weeks. The unexpected positive side effects extended beyond the physical – her temperament improved, and her abscesses began to heal, thanks to CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties.

However, the success story with Nidia brings forth a crucial consideration – dosing. Dr. Castillo emphasized the importance of species-specific differences in metabolism. It cautions against applying standard dog or cat doses to larger animals. The need for further research and understanding of optimal dosages becomes evident as veterinary medicine explores the potential of cannabis treatments.

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Global perspectives: cannabis in veterinary medicine

While cannabis has made inroads into veterinary practices in countries like Mexico, challenges persist globally. The legal landscape, societal stigma, and a dearth of peer-reviewed studies hinder the seamless integration of cannabis into veterinary medicine. However, a small but growing community of international veterinarians is actively working to bridge these gaps through education, research, and activism.

Moreover, veterinarians in different parts of the world are adopting cannabis for animals in distinctive ways. In Australia, pets like RiffRaff, a rose-breasted cockatoo, have shown remarkable improvements with CBD treatment. The conventional approaches to veterinary care are being challenged by these positive outcomes.

On the other hand, in Colombia, zoo animals are reaping the benefits of cannabis. This is particularly emphasized with CBD demonstrating effectiveness for various issues like pain, inflammation, and even enhancing the effectiveness of cancer treatments. These instances highlight the evolving landscape of veterinary medicine and the potential of cannabis-based treatments.

The evolving narrative of cannabis in veterinary medicine unveils a promising horizon. Despite challenges, the potential benefits for animals worldwide offer hope for better health outcomes. As stakeholders grapple with regulatory hurdles, collaboration on a global scale becomes crucial. The intersection of cannabis and animal care holds the promise of transformative breakthroughs. This emphasizes the need for continued research, education, and advocacy.

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